5

I received notice that two of my previous questions were edited. Obviously, if those edits improved the question somehow, that's a good thing. So I went to check them out, also wanting to verify that the meaning of the question had not been altered.

When I loaded them and reviewed the revision history, I found that the only change was to alter the capitalization structure of the title of the question. I had capitalized as a title, and someone later decided they should be instead capitalized as full sentences.

Are these types of minor edits welcome? In my opinion, it seems minor enough to be considered arbitrary, which I think many users could find off-putting.

  • 2
    I believe you mean this question and this question, which I edited as part of my job. Cheers. – Aarthi Oct 3 '11 at 20:59
  • Yep, those are the ones. Thanks for the info. – Jeffrey Blake Oct 3 '11 at 21:20
  • titles are viewed as more significant than bodies, since they appear in more places and are the "envoy" for the body, so smaller edits are tolerated in titles. – Jeff Atwood Oct 7 '11 at 1:53
9

Normally minor edits are frowned upon, but the two questions I think you are talking about were edited as part of the CHAOS initiative where the aim was to get most question titles to be proper grammatical questions. It would be easier to answer this if you linked to the questions concerned so I didn't have to guess.

You can find out more about CHAOS here and here

  • A note in reference to my answer where I suggest this is only good practice if the question is new enough not to get bumped: I believe CHAOS team members operate in a special mode where their edits don't bump questions at all so they would be immune to that caveat. – Caleb Oct 3 '11 at 21:02
  • We did at one point operate in "stealth" mode for titles only (if we had edited the body or upvoted, then the post would bump normally) for about a week back in late July / early August, but we have since lost those powers (along with our mod diamonds) and have returned to functioning as new users. All of my edits, title or otherwise, will bump and require moderator / 10k-user approval. – Aarthi Oct 4 '11 at 4:33
5

Looking at the home page of this site, the question titles display a remarkable amount of consistency. Frankly, it's a beautiful thing and I wish more sites had people willing to fine tune titles as they were posted so the site presented that nicely.

I would say avoid doing that to post bodies, but it's worth it for titles particularly if caught early enough that it won't bump old posts to the home page.

1

I can't understand why "minor" edits are frowned upon; any edit that improves the question/answer/title also improves the chances the user who landed on that question might return. When users hit the site from a search and see well written text free of errors and typos, they are more likely to trust the information and return to the site later. If the user hits a site that has a ton of typos, the question/answer are not in proper English and are hard to follow, the user is not likely to return for information again.

Small edits sometimes make a big difference. I recently went on a crusade to remove all occurrences of "Thanks,", "Thank you", "Cheers", and "Thanks in advance", from questions because I felt it made the site feel more like a forum (and who really takes advice from a forum). It's nice to keep the site light and friendly. But when folks are asking for advice on the largest investment they're likely to make, they want to feel like the person/people they are asking know what they are talking about and can communicate at least somewhat effectively.

For some SE sites "Professionalism" may not be that important, so minor edits are not as important. For a site like Home Improvement minor edits could be the difference between a user taking the advice offered, or moving on to the next search result.

  • In my opinion, it's a matter of balance. While content is king, users are the populace that give the king his power. Improving the content is worth editing, but that edit also gives newer users a feeling that someone on the site didn't think their posts were good enough. If an edit is minor enough that it doesn't improve anything in a meaningful way, then it might be better to avoid editing so as to avoid creating this response. – Jeffrey Blake Oct 4 '11 at 13:30
  • @JeffreyBlake See the FAQ. If users are not happy with others being able to edit their posts, they might not be happy here. Besides they can always roll back the edit if they want. – Tester101 Oct 4 '11 at 13:44
  • I'm very familiar with the FAQ, and specifically with the concept of collaborative editing. I stand behind what I said above. Improving the content is obviously a good thing. But I didn't think any SE site was out to unnecessarily exclude users unfamiliar with these concepts. Trivial edits can easily do this. Such edits might include things like changing the comma to a semi-colon after "upon" in your first sentence, since as it stands, it's a run-on. Or deleting the comma in "Thanks," as repetitive. Excessive trivial edits can create the feeling that there's something personal going on. – Jeffrey Blake Oct 4 '11 at 15:25
  • @JeffreyBlake I can see your point, but I think even minor edits can be helpful (if you're willing to take a hit to your ego). When my posts are edited I take the edits as a chance to learn, not as a slight against me. For example I often confused "your" and "you're", but after a few edits from fellow community members I find I make that mistake less. If a user cannot take creative criticism (or just criticism), the internet is probably not the best place for them. – Tester101 Oct 4 '11 at 15:55

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